A Cannon Falls man turned himself in late Thursday night, Jan. 28, to the Goodhue County Jail on charges of illegally selling nine of his employer's cows.

Josua Francois Rood, 30, was booked on felony rustling and theft charges. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine.

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According to a criminal complaint from Goodhue County:

The co-owner of Erickson Farms in Cannon Falls contacted authorities on Jan. 18 about missing cows. Goodhue County Sheriff's Office deputies later contacted Haas Livestock, which indicated that Rood sold them nine cows for $7,266.60. The cows were received Dec. 31, 2020, and Rood deposited a check from Haas Livestock Selling Agency for $7,266.60 on Jan. 5, according to the complaint.

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When deputies spoke with Rood, he reportedly confirmed eight or nine cows were missing from Erickson Farms, though he didn’t know where the cows went. He said he was with family on New Year's Eve.

Josua Francois Rood, 30. Photo courtesy Goodhue County Sheriff's Office
Josua Francois Rood, 30. Photo courtesy Goodhue County Sheriff's Office

The sheriff's office also was contacted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who stated that Rood had contacted the agency and requested to be taken into custody. Rood allegedly claimed to be an illegal immigrant and wanted to be deported back to his home country of South Africa. The customs officer confirmed Rood’s work visa had expired in 2015.

Rood turned himself into Goodhue County Jail on Jan. 28 and bail was set at $50,000 with no conditions. He is scheduled to appear in Goodhue County Court for a hearing on March 31.